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A 7 Year Fight for the Guardian Building's Tube Bar Proposal

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Our series on Re-Imagining Detroit Buildings is an unscientific approach to seeing which buildings this city wants redeveloped. We're asking people who tend to know about these things to make a pitch for a building that has not been redeveloped yet... but should be! This post was authored by Curbed contributor MJ Galbraith.

Special thanks to David Shock for access to his business proposal. and to M1/DTW for images

Our next entry for our Re-Imagining Detroit Buildings series isn't so much a building as it is a floating space between two buildings. Ever since well into the Bush administration, big thinker and now GM for the new Germack Coffee Roasting Co. David Shock has been trying to turn a pedestrian tube fourteen stories above W. Larned Street into Downtown Detroit's most unique night spot. If only he could get the right people's attention.

Several years ago, Shock decided the pedestrian tube between the Guardian Building and One Woodward Avenue would make for a spectacular place for sea food and cocktails. So much so that he's been working ever since at convincing the building owners and management group the same. He asked the designers at M1/DTW to design what he calls the UnitedBar, which, "celebrates the physical joining of two generations of American design." We're pretty sure the UnitedBar would quickly become one of the best bars to take out-of-towners to and show Detroit off.

Unfortunately, those in charge, though intrigued by David's idea, have been glacially slow come time to make a decision. David explains:

Since I first came up with the concept several years ago I have been continually put on the back burner by the Sterling Group (owners of the Guardian and Bridge). About 3 years ago they sold the building to Wayne County but are still the property managers. It seems to be double the headache now, unfortunately. I tried using the few contacts I have in Wayne and Detroit but for some reason every time I find interested investors and try to approach the project, Wayne/Sterling takes forever to get back with me and the investors lose interest. This has happened about 4 times in 7 years. Fortunately, he hasn't given up:

I think it could definitely happen. What it would take is Wayne County's attention since they are the current owners of the Guardian Building. I have reached out to them and presented them with a complete business plan, parts of which can be reviewed on Facebook under, but I have received no word back. And while, truth be told, the idea of hanging out in a bar suspended that high above the street makes our knees weak, that's what the booze is for, right? We think David's optimism and commitment are pretty admirable and just what the city needs (not to mention his rad idea). David, too, sees the bigger picture: "This isn't just about my bar in a tube--it's about great/small ideas that need to be showcased in order to bring bigger things to this city."

· It's True: A New Coffee Shop for Eastern Market [Curbed Detroit]
· Wait No More! The Germack Coffee Shop Opened This Morning! [Curbed Detroit]
· All Re-imagining Detroit Buildings coverage [Curbed Detroit]
· UnitedBar [Facebook]
· United Bar Proposal [M1/DTW]

Guardian Building

500 Griswold Street, , MI 48226 Visit Website